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Published: January 3rd 2014
After Yala we visited Bundala, a national park comprised of wetlands bordered by another protected beach. A perfect spot for some bird watching. I wanted to see a Eurasian Hoopoe, a beautiful red bird with a black and white striped tail and a black crest and I did! Matt was most excited by the eagles. But after two days bouncing around in a safari jeep we were ready for some beach time.
Tangalle was one of the beach villages we saw on our way to Yala. From the road it looked spectacular and it's been written up as a great place to hang out with 8km of golden sand beach to walk. It was really hot when we arrived so we checked into our guesthouse and headed right to the water for a swim. It is indeed a gorgeous beach, with waves breaking on pristine sand.
On our way back to the guesthouse we saw twelve fishermen pulling in an enormous net. They were heaving it in by hand with the lead fisherman singing to help them stay in synch. 6 men pulled from one side and, 100 meters down the beach, 6 more pulled in the other. We
could see the buoys still around 1km out to sea. It looked like really hard work. Of course Matt jumped in to help and spent an hour reefing in the net. After it was all over the purse contained tuna (skipjack) and many kinds of other little fish. The singing fisherman must have owned the net because he offered Matt 16 fish for his efforts. Unfortunately we still don't have any place to cook it so we had to decline.
The next morning we rented a kayak and explored the lagoon, a big mangrove forest that empties into the ocean. We were very lucky that we left early, around 6:30AM, because we were able to see 8 - 10 very large water monitor lizards, which apparently is not that easy to do. The first one I saw freaked me out because it looked like a crocodile but Matt recognized it as a lizard right away. He explained that their heads are rounder and their tongues give them away but I was too busy paddling to hear much of what he was saying. You sit low in the water on a kayak and these things are big. Of course our
(my) hectic paddling disturbed a water snake that took off from under our kayak and swum toward a grove. I was very relieved when our next sighting was an Anhinga fishing. These birds are in the cormorant family and are amazing. When they are swimming their bodies sink under the surface and only their long and very mobile necks are visible. Unlike regular cormorants that dive head first they just sink like a submarine, We sat and watched one while it fished for a while. When it caught something it threw it up in the air to turn it because it can only swallow a fish head first. These are the same birds that Vietnamese fishermen put leashes on and use to catch fish.
Today is our last day at Tangalle. We have enjoyed lounging on the beautiful beaches here but don't think we will make it our home as, once again, there is no diving to speak of. Additionally there are many tourists and as a result, everything is twice as expensive here. So our search continues.
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